Connect to Strelka from Windows

Windows users can connect to Strelka using either PuTTY or MobaXterm. Connecting to Strelka requires a public/private key pair instead of a password.  Follow the instructions below to install either package, set up a key pair, and connect to Strelka.


PuTTY is a basic yet flexible program regularly used to interact with remote systems. Download PuTTY and install.

Setting up a key pair

Start the PuTTYgen program

  • Under Parameters → Number of bits in a generated key → enter "2048" (don't include the quotes)

  • Under Actions → Generate a public/private key pair → Click the "Generate" button

  • Follow the instructions

  • Under Actions → Save the generated key → Click "Save private key"

  • Save private key file in a folder of your choosing.  Set filename to: "id_rsa.ppk"

  • Copy the contents of the "Public key for Pasting into OpenSSH authorized_keys file" text box 

  • Go to the Strelka Account Request page and paste the public key text into the box provided.

It may take a few days to create your Strelka account.  

Configuring PuTTY

Start the PuTTY program and configure as follows:

  • Session → Hostname → Enter "" (don't include the quotes)

  • Session → Connection type → check "SSH"

  • Connection → Data → Auto-login username → Enter your Swarthmore username.  Usernames are case sensitive, so use all lowercase letters.

  • Connection  SSH  Auth → select the "id_rsa.ppk" file created in the section above.

  • Session  Saved sessions → enter "Strelka" in the text box and click "Save"

The configuration only needs to be done once.  In the future, the configuring can be loaded by starting PuTTY, selecting Session  Saved sessions, selecting "Strelka" and clicking "Load"

Connecting to Strelka

Connect to Strelka by clicking on "Open" button at the bottom of the window.


MobaXterm is a powerful program that integrates a shell, file manager, X11 server, and additional utilities in one package. Download and install MobaXterm (the free Home Edition is sufficient).

Setting up a key pair

  • Tools → MobaKeyGen (SSH key generator)

  • Generate (follow the instructions to move your mouse randomly in the specified area)

  • Save private key → save the private key file in a folder of your choosing, and set the filename to id_rsa.ppk

  • Save public key → save the public key in a folder of your choosing so you have a backup of it if needed later

  • Copy the entire contents in the text box under "Public key for pasting into OpenSSH server"

  • Go to the Strelka Account Request page and paste the public key text into the box provided.

Configuring MobaXterm

  • Session → SSH → Remote host →  enter

  • Check Specify username → enter your Swarthmore username (case-sensitive, use all lowercase letters)

  • Under Advanced SSH settings → check Use private key → click the file icon and navigate to the private key file (id_rsa.ppk) you generated above

  • Click OK to save the session settings

Connecting to Strelka

The session will be saved in a list on the left side of the window; double-click on to connect.

If off campus, start VPN before opening the connection to Strelka.

Which program should I use?

Both PuTTY and MobaXterm provide similar functionality. PuTTY is lighter-weight, whereas MobaXterm comes with many additional utilities and capabilities that most users won't need. On the other hand, MobaXterm comes with a built-in X11 server, so if you intend to use graphical applications, it is an excellent all-in-one solution, plus it has other useful features, such as an integrated SFTP file manager, making it straightforward to upload and download files to/from Strelka. In the end, it is mostly personal preference.

Connecting to Strelka for Graphical Programs

It is possible to run graphical programs on Strelka using X11 forwarding; for further information please see these instructions to use GUI applications on Strelka.

Ways you can contact ITS or find information:

ITS Support Portal:
Phone: x4357 (HELP) or 610-328-8513
Check out our remote resources at
Check our homepage at